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Press Release

U.S. Attorney and Oregon Attorney General Issue Joint Guidance on the Enforcement of Tribal Protection Orders

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Oregon

PORTLAND— U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams and Oregon Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum issued joint official guidance today on the enforcement of tribal protection orders.

Tribal protection orders, referred to as foreign restraining orders under state law, are civil orders of protection issued by tribal courts to prevent future domestic violence. State and federal law under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) require full faith and credit for these orders, meaning all states must uphold protective orders from any other state and from any tribal nation. 

“Protecting public safety and the fair administration of justice requires steadfast partnership among local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies. When we fail to uphold tribal restraining orders, we leave Native women vulnerable to human trafficking and violence, contributing to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Persons epidemic,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “When we grant full faith and credit for tribal restraining orders, we are working collaboratively across jurisdictions to ensure all Oregonians enjoy the same court-ordered protections regardless of who they are, or where they live or travel in the state.”

“We have heard from all levels of law enforcement that there may be confusion nationally and statewide about how to enforce tribal protection orders,” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “We hope that this guidance will help us work together to better protect all victims of domestic violence—especially tribal women who deserve the same protections as other Oregon women. We want to ensure that all law enforcement understands and recognizes what a tribal protection order is and will enforce it.”

The Oregon Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney’s Office will be traveling around the state in March to train law enforcement, prosecutors, advocates, and community members about full faith and credit as part of ODOJ’s RISE program.

A PDF version of today’s memorandum is available on the U.S. Attorney’s Office website at https://www.justice.gov/usao-or/indian-country.

According to findings from the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey published by the National Institute of Justice, 55.5% of Native women have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime, including 8.6% who have experienced domestic violence in the past year. Native women are 1.6 times as likely, compared to Caucasian women, to have experienced domestic violence in the past year.

If you have questions or concerns about the enforcement of tribal protection orders in Oregon or if you are interested in additional training on this topic, please contact Sarah Sabri with the Oregon Department of Justice at sarah.m.sabri@doj.state.or.us or Tim Simmons with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon at tim.simmons@usdoj.gov.

Updated January 30, 2020

Topic
Indian Country Law and Justice
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